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Krita Brushes.png

If you've used Krita before, you must be familiar with the cute little icons that represents Krita's many different brushes. These are the brush presets. And there's more than hundred of them. Every artist has their own needs, so it may be that one day you discover that the preinstalled presets are not enough.

Let's make some presets!

The Brush Settings Editor

First things first, we need to find the brush-settings editor. The brush settings editor in Krita can be found in the toolbar, between the gradients, patterns and color widget on the left and the brush mode, eraser and alpha lock on the right. Or, more simple: Just press f5 to open the brush settings editor (incidentally, f6 opens the toolbar brush docker).


The brush settings editor has a lot of different parts.

  • The list to the left is the list of Brush Engines. These allow for a 'species' of brushes to be created. The sketch brush engine for example draws little lines, while the color smudge brush mixes the current color with the color on the canvas.
  • On top is a gallery of presets that have already been created using the current brush engine.
  • On the right is the scratchpad. Here you can test your current brush.
  • In the middle there's the settings for the selected brush engine:
    • On top is a name, as well as the save options.
    • The list to the left is the options available to the current brush engine. Each brush engine is a little different, and has different options.
    • Then, to the right of that options list is the actual settings window.
    • On the bottom are a few small options like Default, which is the default brush setting for the current brush engine, and like save small tweaks to presets and Eraser switch size. These save temporary tweaks(which can be reset with the reset button next to the save button) and make the eraser size larger respectively.

The scratchpad has a little square in it, when you save the brush, the contents of the square are used to make the brush preset. If you press the brush icon below the scratchpad, the current preset icon is loaded into the square. The gradient icon fills the whole scratchpad with the currently active gradient, and the fill tool fills it with the current background color. The red stop symbol empties the scratchpad and make it white.

Krita's scratchpad is known to crash the program when you installed an new version of Krita on a computer that used to have an older version. To fix this issue, delete the 'kritarc' file in the %appdata%/roaming folder on windows, or the .kde/share/config folder on Linux.

Making a Simple Inking Brush

So, to demonstrate how to use this system, let's make a simple inking brush: A nice round brush that uses your tablet's sensors and makes pretty lines.

  1. Press f5 to open the brush settings editor.
  2. Choose the Pixel Brush engine. This is the most general of the brush engines.
  3. Press the Default button below. This'll reset the brush to the default for this brush engine.
  4. Draw on the scratchpad to see what the current brush looks like. If done correctly you should have a 5px wide brush that has pressure set to opacity.
  5. Let us turn off the opacity first. Click on the opacity option in the right-hand list. The settings should now be changed to a big curve. This is the sensor curve.
  6. Untick the enable pen settings button.
  7. Test on the scratch pad... there still seems to be something affecting opacity. This is due the flow option.
  8. Select the Flow option from the list on the right hand. Flow is like Opacity, except that Flow is per dab, and opacity is per stroke.
  9. Turn off the enable pen settings button here as well. Test again.
  10. Now you should be getting somewhere towards an inking brush. It is still too small however, and kinda grainy looking. Click Brush Tip in the brush engine options.
  11. Here, diameter is the size of the brush-tip. You can touch the slider change the size, or right-click it and type in a value. Set it to 25 and test again. It should be much better.
  12. Now to make the brush feel a bit softer, turn down the fade parameter to about 0.9. This'll give the brush mask a softer edge.
  13. If you test again, you'll notice the fade doesn't seem to have much effect. This has to do with the spacing of the dabs: The closer they are together, the harder the line is. By default this is 0.1, which is a bit low. If you set it to 10 and test, you'll see what kind of effect spacing has. The Auto tickbox changes the way the spacing is calculated, and Auto Spacing with a value of 0.8 is the best value for inking brushes. Don't forget that you can use right-click to type in a value.
  14. Now, when you test, the fade seems to have a normal effect... except on the really small sizes, which look pixelly. To get rid of that, tick the anti-aliasing checkbox. If you test again, the lines should be much nicer now.
  15. Now, for saving. Doodle something into the square in the scratchpad. Then, type in a name into the text input above the settings, and press Save to presets (If your name has already been picked, this text will say Overwrite Preset instead).
  16. If you check the preset docker, you brush should now be a part of it!

So that's how you create a basic inking brush. There's more options you can make use of, like for example:

Changing the amount of pressure you need to put on a brush to make it full size.
To do this, select the size option, and press the pressuresensor from the list next to the curve. The curve should look like a straight line. Now if you want a brush that gets big with little pressure, tick on the curve to make a point, and drag the point to the upper-left. The more the point is to the upper-left, the more extreme the effect.
If you want instead a brush that you have to press really hard on to get to full size, drag the dot to the lower-right. Such a brush is useful for fine details.
Don't forget to save the changes to your brush when done.
Making the fine lines look even softer by using the flow option.
To do this, select the flow option, and turn back on the enable pen settings check box. Now if you test this, it is indeed a bit softer, but maybe a bit too much. Click on the curve to make a dot, and drag that dot to the top-left, half-way the horizontal of the first square of the grid. Now, if you test, the thin lines are much softer, but the hard your press, the harder the brush becomes.

Sharing your Brush

If you want to share your brushes there's two ways to do that:

Copy from the resources folder

To do this, you first need to find the resources folder. This one is supossed to be in HOME/.kde/share/apps/krita/ on linux and user/appdata/roaming/krita on windows, but the easiest way to access it is by going to Settings->Manage Resources->Open Resource Folder This'll open your file browser with the right folder for your operating system.

Now, Krita internally refers to it's brush-presets not as 'brushes' but as 'paintoppresets' which is short for 'paint operation presets'. So you are looking for a file in the 'paintops' folder. Krita saves it's presets as *.kpp files, which are png files with embedded meta-data contain the brush settings info.

If you saved over a previous file, you'll notice there's a lot of filenameGJDTXY.kpp or something like it in the folder. This is because Krita doesn't save over, but rather attaches a temporary name to the new preset. To find the proper preset, first go to Settings->Manage Resources->Delete Backup Files to get rid of all the clutter, and then select the file that sounds like the preset you are looking for. As it's a PNG, you should be able to recognize it's preview picture.

To edit a *.kpp preview picture, drag-and-drop it into Krita, and Open as new document. You will now get an image of 200x200 pixels that you can edit to your desire.

Save your file, and if it didn't have a predefined brush tip, you can just sent it to a friend.

They can import the .kpp by either clicking the folder icon in the toolbar brush preset dropdown(f6) and selecting the *.kpp from their files. Or by going to the resource manager (settings->manage resources) and selecting 'import resources', which will also bring up a file-browser, that should be set to 'kpp' and used to look for the proper file.

Using zips

This is an outdated method, and if you are using Krita 2.9 and up, it may even be that these brushes don't work properly.

Regardless, if you have been sent a zip, you need to copy over the files inside files to the resource folder, and restart Krita. More effective however is to use...

Resource Bundles

Resource bundles are also zip-files, but they contain a lot of extra-information, like creator, date, version of Krita, and they can be used by Krita to mass-install resources and also to mass-uninstall.

You can make a resource bundle by going to settings->manage resources and selecting Create Bundle, A new window will pop-up. To the left, you can fill in the meta-data, the icon, and where the bundle ought to be saved to. The bundle name will be used to tag it, and the rest will be used in the description. Select a resource type in the drop-down to the top-right, and then select the resources you want to use in the list. Press the button pointing to the right to put them in the selected list. You can select multiple items at once using shift or ctrl, and then use the right button to add them to the selected list all at once. You can have multiple resource-types in a single bundle, just select a new resource type, and move the resources to the selected list.

When you are done, press OK, and the bundle will be generated at the place where you told it to. That bundle can be shared.

To install a bundle, go to settings->manage resources and select import resource and set the file-browser filter to 'resource bundle'. Navigate to where the bundle is, and click open. The bundle is now installed, and it's contents have been tagged with the bundle name.

You can deactivate a bundle by selecting it from the 'active' list, and pressing the 'right arrow' to the 'inactive' list. Reinstalling bundles can be done in a similar manner, by selecting them from the inactive list and pressing the 'left arrow' to move it to the active list.

Activating and deactivating bundles can help manage Krita's start-up time.

Removing Presets

Deleting a brush preset in Krita blacklists it for future recovering, to delete it permanently you have to remove the file with a separate file manager see Resources.

Going more advanced

There are many different brush types/engines available in Krita each with a distinct look and feel. They can be configured in the brush settings after your needs.

There's many more brush-engine than what has been covered here, as are there brush engine options and sensors. You have the basics down now, but the following pages give more information on these subjects:

Brush Engines:

  1. Pixel Brush
  2. Clone Brush
  3. Filter Brush
  4. Bristle Brush
  5. Hatching Brush
  6. Chalk Brush
  7. Color Smudge Brush
  8. Curve Brush
  9. Deform Brush
  10. Dyna Brush
  11. Shape Brush
  12. Grid Brush
  13. Particle Brush
  14. Sketch Brush
  15. Spray Brush
  16. Tangent Normal Brush

Overall Brush Settings:

  1. Brush Tips
  2. Opacity & Flow
  3. Texture
  4. Sensors
  5. Locked Brush Settings
  6. Parameters

This page was last modified on 23 October 2015, at 17:41. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.